Sunday, October 10, 2010

Brett Favre -- doesn't have a great lead-in to Monday Night Football

“You're a goddamn quarterback! You know what that means? It's the top spot, kid. It's the guy who takes the fall. It's the guy everybody's looking at first - the leader of a team - who will support you when they understand you. Who will break their ribs and their noses and their necks for you, because they believe. 'Cause you make them believe. That's a quarterback.” Tony D'Amato, played by Al Pacino in Any Given Sunday

A quarterback is the center force on a National Football League teams. Brett Favre remains one of the most talked about quarterbacks in NFL history. Tonight Favre will lead the Minnesota Vikings on a stage, Monday Night Football, where Favre has enjoyed some of his finest moments in the Meadowlands against the New York Jets. Off field allegations have cast a spotlight on Brett Favre; claims that if proven true could lead to Favre facing a certain suspension by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported Sunday NFL security officials will meet with Favre if Jenn Sterger confirms and/or provides evidence that the allegations Favre sent her “voice messages and salacious photos” have merit. Mortensen’s also suggested Goodell could be very quick to act on Favre’s alleged actions and could suspend the Vikings quarterback.

Drafted by the Atlanta Falcons in the second round, 33rd overall in the 1991 NFL Draft, and traded by the Falcons to the Green Bay Packers during the following offseason, Favre was the first NFL player to win three consecutive AP MVP awards. Favre led the Packers to two Super Bowls, winning Super Bowl XXXI. Favre also started every Green Bay Packers game from September 20, 1992, to January 20, 2008.

Off the field the Mississippi native has reaped the benefits of what has been called a legendary career. Favre reportedly earned $7 million in endorsements last year and is ranked No. 301 out of 2,599 celebrities on the Davie-Brown Index, an industry source that ranks celebrities. Favre risks that and a great deal more if any of the allegations suggested in a recent report first published at are true. The reports suggest Favre, who has worked at selling his image to family value, will leave that aura in the dust; the reports link Favre to inappropriate and lewd contact with a Jet female employee during the 2009 season.

The NFL announced on Friday they would be investigating the allegations.

"We are reviewing the matter," league spokesman Greg Aiello said when asked about reports that a person alleged to be Favre sent voice mails and lewd pictures to Jenn Sterger.

Asked to respond to the Deadspin report on Thursday, Favre offered a comment that was cavalier at best: "I'm not getting into that. I've got my hands full with the Jets and am trying to get some timing down with our guys, so that's all I'm going to discuss."

Favre’s indifference to what is quickly becoming a serious matter given how serious NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has become about the behavior of NFL players suggests the image Favre worked so hard at developing over his career is nothing more than a sham.

Favre married his longtime girlfriend and partner Deanna Tynes on July 14, 1996. They are members of the Roman Catholic Church. Together, they have two daughters, Brittany (born 1989) and Breleigh (born 1999). A grandson, Parker Brett, was born to Brittany on April 2, 2010. The NFL has stated that it knew of no other grandfathers among current NFL players.

Favre's mother, Bonita, helps manage his holdings in agriculture and real estate, handle his endorsements and appearances and oversee his charity work. Brett and Bonita Favre released a book in 2004 titled Favre which looks at their personal family and Green Bay Packers family, including the Monday Night Football game that followed the death of Brett's father Irvin Favre.

One day after his father died of a heart attack or stroke, Favre decided to play in a December 22, 2003, Monday Night Football game against the Oakland Raiders. Favre passed for four touchdowns in the first half and 399 total yards in a 41–7 victory over the Raiders on international television (even receiving applause from "Raider Nation").

Afterwards, Favre said, "I knew that my dad would have wanted me to play. I love him so much and I love this game. It's meant a great deal to me, to my dad, to my family, and I didn't expect this kind of performance. But I know he was watching tonight."

He was named NFC Offensive Player of the Week for his performance. He then went to his father's funeral in Pass Christian, Mississippi . Favre won an ESPY Award for his Monday Night Football performance

Favre established the Brett Favre Fourward Foundation in 1996. In conjunction with his annual golf tournament, celebrity softball game and fundraising dinners, the foundation has donated more than $2 million to charities in his home state of Mississippi as well as to those in his adopted state of Wisconsin .

The Favre family also owns and operates the Brett Favre's Steakhouse, located in Green Bay , Wisconsin .

Favre made a cameo appearance in the 1998 romantic comedy film There's Something About Mary as the love interest of Cameron Diaz's character.

Favre is a spokesperson for many products, including Snapper Inc., Wrangler Jeans and Sears. In the Sears ads, Favre pokes fun at himself for his constant waffling between retirement and continuing his playing career by debating whether or not to buy a plasma screen TV, saying "I'll take it... Nah, I don't know" in one ad in and in another has a conversation with a Blue Crew associate who says of the TV, "some guys just can't make up their minds" to which Favre replies "Yeah, I hate those guys."

In a Hyundai commercial with a similar theme, he accepts the 2020 NFL MVP award, with fully gray hair, saying "When you're playing at 50, and you're older than the fans, coaches, and owners, well... I should probably retire after this... But I don't know."

Throughout the weekend nearly every American paper featured reports on the alleged Favre sex scandal, Favre’s comments and the NFL interest in the allegations. That isn’t the news the companies that have invested $7 million in Brett Favre wanted to see reported.

"You are talking about family-friendly brands that partnered with Brett and who believe he was the all-American, great family guy and country boy," said Matt Delzell, group account director of Davie-Brown Talent -- part of The Marketing Arm, which ranks celebrities' appeal and influence.

"Family-oriented sponsors don't like this stuff. They are hoping it passes and is gone by the weekend," said Mike Paul, president of MGP & Associates, a reputation-management firm.

"If it continues into next week, I think they will have some discussions."

On April 14, 2010 NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell issued a memorandum to all clubs, coaches, team presidents and general managers last Wednesday, stressing to all parties the measures that players and team employees must uphold and restating how the league's personal-conduct policy can be applied.

There was deep discussion of the conduct policy and how it applies to subsequent discipline during the league meetings last month in Orlando , Fla. This memo follows up on that, with the timing linked to recent events facing the league, the most prominent being the sexual-assault allegations brought against Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in Georgia .

The memo in part read: "The Policy makes clear that NFL and club personnel must do more than simply avoid criminal behavior. We must conduct ourselves in a way that 'is responsible, that promotes the values upon which the league is based, and is lawful.' This standard reflects the recognition that the conduct and behavior of our players and other league and team employees is critically important. Whether it involves your team or another, these incidents affect us all -- every investigation, arrest, or other allegation of improper conduct undermines the respect for our league by our fans, lessens the confidence of our business partners and threatens the continued success of our brand.

"As your club begins its offseason programs and approaches the Draft, I encourage you to be vigilant in reinforcing this message with your players and staff. It makes no difference whether an incident occurs during the season or in the off-season. At every opportunity, you should remind them of your standards and the public’s expectations, of the need to use good judgment, particularly when in a public place, and of the resources available to help us all in meeting these standards."

A week after Goodell issued his memo, the commissioner announced that Roethlisberger would be suspended for the first six games of the NFL schedule. That suspension was later reduced to four games. Roethlisberger returns next Sunday when the Steelers meet the Cleveland Browns at Heinz Field after “enjoying’ their bye week.

"You are held to a higher standard as an NFL player, and there is nothing about your conduct in Milledgeville that can remotely be described as admirable, responsible, or consistent with either the values of the league or the expectations of our fans," Goodell told Roethlisberger when he announced his decision.

"In your six years in the NFL, you have first thrilled and now disappointed a great many people," he told Roethlisberger. "I urge you to take full advantage of this opportunity to get your life and career back on track."

Adam "Pacman" Jones, Tank Johnson, the late Chris Henry and Michael Vick were all suspended by Goodell for their off-field behavior. Henry, who died in a tragic accident last year, did return to play for the Cincinnati Bengals.

Then Tennessee Titans cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones, who faced felony charges in two states, was suspended for the entire 2007 season. There were 10 occasions in which Jones was interviewed by police, the most recent during the 2007 NBA All-Star weekend in Las Vegas. Jones returned to play for the Dallas Cowboys and is now a member of the Cincinnati Bengals.

On April 30 2006, Johnson pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor weapons charge as part of an arrangement with prosecutors that kept him from serving additional jail time. He was sentenced to 45 days in jail, which was served concurrently with a four-month sentence he's already serving in the Cook County Jail for violating his probation, and to donate $2,500 to the Gurnee Police Department and $2,500 to the Gurnee Exchange Club's child abuse prevention program. While he was in jail, many of his teammates and coaches, including Brian Urlacher, Rex Grossman, and Lovie Smith visited Johnson. Johnson, like Jones, was a member of the 2008 Dallas Cowboys and the two are teammates with the 2010 Cincinnati Bengals.

Michael Vick was at the peak of his football career when he was arrested and in August 2007, he pleaded guilty to federal felony charges and served 21 months in prison, followed by two months in home confinement

With the loss of his NFL salary and product endorsement deals, combined with previous financial mismanagement, Vick filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in July 2008. Falcons’ owner Arthur Blank did not want Vick on the Falcons, and after attempts to trade him failed, Vick was released. He signed with the Philadelphia Eagles and was reinstated in Week 3 of the 2009 season.

Clearly if the allegations Brett Favre is facing are proven to be true Roger Goodell has no choice but to suspend Favre for at least two to four games. Furthermore Goodell needs to send out a clear and concise message sooner rather than later, before the end of the 2010 season. Favre’s 2010 on-field play hasn’t been close to the Brett Favre whose on field exploits had Hall of Fame written all over his career. There is a strong possibility, despite the fact that Brett Favre has announced his ‘retirement’ three times only to return each time, that indeed this will be Favre’s football swan song – what could be a very embarrassing end to what had been largely an outstanding career.

If as coach Tony D'Amato suggests in “Any Given Sunday” a quarterback is the leader on a team, Brett Favre’s alleged actions aren’t those of a leader but of those of self-centered, egomaniacal athlete, what today’s star athlete has evolved into. Clearly Brett Favre has earned his chance to face the charges he’s facing. Let’s hope for the good of the game and for the man Brett Favre claims to be he’s man enough to stand up and face those charges.

For this is Howard Bloom. Sources cited in this report: Wikipedia,, ESPN and The New York Post

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